1971 Fiesta Bowl
Offensive Player of the Game: Gary Huff, Florida State
Defensive Player of the Game: Junior Ah You, Arizona State
Head Coaches: Frank Kush, Arizona State - Larry Jones, Florida State
Weather: Sunny, light clouds
Payout Per Team: $168,237
The 1971 Fiesta Bowl was the first contest held, and some call it the most exciting bowl game of the ‘70s. To think it was just the beginning. The combined 83 points was the highest ever for a major bowl game, and 51,098 fans jammed Sun Devil Stadium, marking the largest crowd to watch a bowl game’s initial effort. In what was a classic offensive battle, the game wasn’t decided until the final minute when ASU’s Woody Green scored on a two-yard burst with just 34 ticks on the clock.
The game had it all and then some. Steve Holden of Arizona State caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from Danny White in the second quarter, and then rumbled 68 yards on a punt return to give ASU a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter. Green rushed for 101 yards and three scores, including the game-winner. Florida State quarterback Gary Huff, who was named the offensive player of the game, completed 25 of 46 passes for 347 yards and two touchdowns.
The dramatic fourth quarter began with a 42-yard field goal by FSU’s Frank Fontes that knotted the score at 31-31. After successive defensive stops, Holden gathered in a punt from Duane Carrell and raced 68 yards to give the Sun Devils a 38-31 lead. But less than two minutes later, Huff took his club 64 yards in four plays, culminating the drive on a 25-yard touchdown pass to Dawson to once again even the score. Arizona State, with 4:44 remaining on the clock, used one of its patented time-consuming drives. Following two important third-down conversions, Green dove straight ahead from two yards out to give ASU the first Fiesta Bowl win.